Meditative Walking in Nature: A Spiritual Self-Care Practice

Updated: Sep 23

Meditative and/or mindfulness walking in nature is one of the most ancient and underrated practices in human history. Ever since the beginning of mankind, humans have utilized their legs to transport themselves from point A to B as a means of survival, contemplation, solitude, freedom, gaining inspiration and creativity, connecting to the art, sights and sounds of nature and the mysteries of the universe.

In Ancient religions, such as Judaism, God spoke and called out Abraham and Moses to lead the Jewish to the Promised Land by sacred walks. Jesus, the Buddha, the Hindu sage, and Mohammad all spread their teachings through walking and being guided along their sacred journey and walking paths.

During my daily meditative walks with God, I offer up gratitude, sacred prayers, and inspirational affirmations to stimulate mindful reflection. By combining the physical journey of walking with the inner spiritual journey of meditating on scriptures and affirmations, this has greatly restored emotional, mental, and spiritual balance for me. Mindful walking became a way for me to stay present with what was happening in my body, rather than getting lost in thought, anxiety and worrying; I began feeling a sense of safety and belonging and a knowing that “all is well" in my soul; analogously related to going back home like the prodigal son. It’s not surprising that meditative walks in nature has a therapeutic effect when you consider that the human race — and all our evolutionary forebears — have been closely bonded with it for all our existence.

As I walk in nature and connect deeply to my breath through inhale, I concentrate on bringing in new lifeforce energy and prana into my body from mother earth’s abundant resources (trees, plants, air, etc.). Almost instantly, I sense an instant and natural calm, peace and deep connection to spirit moving across my skin and nourishing the deepest points of my body (my cells, DNA, chakras). Through exhale, I sense a release of energy for an exchange of life force energy back to nature and the trees. This Divine exchange is a rhythmic dance we play between ourselves and mother earth without even consciously thinking about it. What a gift of renewal and restoration!

With our varied means of transportation of today, we have essentially become disconnected from the sacredness of walking in nature to open to the world and to connect with the true essence of our being; the deeper and higher parts of ourselves and our Creator.

My life has completely transformed because of a few, simple spiritual practices, such as meditative walking in nature. I feel much more grounded through the support of mother earth and her rich energy piercing through my feet and up through my spine. I feel more renewed, revitalized, and rejuvenated at a physical, biological, energetic, and soul level. My healing is proof that anyone who suffers from anxiety, depression, stress, and deep grief can regain true joy, happiness and wholeness of mind, body, and spirit.

Apart from all the purposes outlined above—that is, survival, health, inspiration, creativity, solitude, and freedom—meditative walking is a means of restoration and renewal and helps one to revitalize focus; clearing the mind and freeing one from the mental toxins and distractions of life, clearing the lymphatic system to rid the body of accumulated toxins, centering and grounding one to the present moment, and restoring a sense of inner peace.

My healing transformation did not go without dedicated hard work however, it took a commitment for deep self-reflection and self-contemplation, spending time alone daily in nature, prayer, and meditation. And it has all been well worth it!

It is important however, to clearly state that there is no “one” recipe for healing and wellness. Each person must be led intuitively to what practice best suits their needs.

Mindful walking in nature can have a major influence and a cascade effect on every area of your life including your relationships, your career, your sense of health and wellbeing, your ability to cope with stress and uncertainty in your life. It can help you train your brain to be more responsive to experiences and not reactive to what’s happening internally and externally.

Being in Nature reminds us to be in the present and experience a connection to “something other than ourselves,” “a higher power” that draws us to a wider perspective. Being in nature reminds us that there’s so much more going on than just our own issues or challenges of the day.

Combining the physical journey of walking in nature with the inner spiritual journey of meditating can come from wherever you draw most inspiration from and in accordance with your own personal beliefs/and or faith both religious or secular such as through the: Bible, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, the Quran etc.….

Here are some steps to get you started:

Meditative Walking in Nature

Step 1

Find a quiet, serene, and safe space to walk in a meditative way in nature (if you can not walk outside, consider walking inside your home or building, you may choose to walk in solitude or silently with a friend or loved one).

Before you begin your mindful walk, read and reflect on your chosen sacred text or scripture.

One of my favorite scripture related to walking is the following: (2. Sam 22:37) “You provide a broad path for my feet, so my ankles do not give way.”

  • Think about what meaning can you draw from the scripture related to your own life circumstances? (I invite you to Choose your own scripture or sacred text here)

  • Notice without judgement what thoughts and emotions arise from reflecting on your chosen passage. Get curious about why you are feeling a certain emotions by reading the chosen text.

Step 2

As you begin to walk, contemplate on the question, “What do I require in my life to feel more grounded and centered under my feet? As you engage in this question, feel the contact and release of your feet touching mother earth with each movement. Become consciously aware of the sensations in your feet, ankles, shins, calves and joints, your skin and your entire body as a whole as you walk. Reflect on the question and notice what comes to mind.

Step 3

Contemplate on your chosen scripture or sacred text. You may offer up a prayer to God, the Divine, the Creator or the Universe. As you do, feel the air or wind against your skin, as your arms move rhythmically as you walk.

Consider these elements of nature as you walk:

  • -Nature is an embodiment of my mind, soul, body and spirit

  • -Nature has healing-vibrational effects from the: trees, flowers, soil, grass, water, air, ground.

  • -Nature can help expand my discovery of self and change my personal perspectives on life challenges.

  • -Nature invites deep connections and belongingness through its' healing properties and with our creator and humanity.

Step 4

Pay attention to your thoughts now. How do you feel? Do you feel content and peaceful? As you journey along your meditative walk, notice what new intuitive insights and guidance arise in your mind.

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